Dream Garden

Rosshall Park is on the edge of Pollok and Crookston and was originally the garden of the baronial mansion Ross Hall. The gardens were commissioned by the owner, James Cowan and he spared no expense, it’s got a miniature lake with an island in the middle and stone walkways with water passing underneath, caves and a big enclosed grotto which, it turns out was an open-air swimming pool.

The plants are hugely varied, all kinds of rhododendrons, Japanese maples, there’s even a pair of American Redwoods and it changes all the time with the seasons.

It’s a wee, secret gem of a place which I came across just walking my dog there. It has so many hidden surprises that it takes a while to discover them all. Chatting with the gardener, I discovered that it was designed by an eminent Victorian Landscape Gardener who also did gardens at Sandringham and Buckingham Palace.

It is loved and used by dog-walkers, cyclists, joggers and not much else. It just seems such a shame that not many local people were using it to the full and also that it occasionally came in for a bit of vandalism and littering. So that’s why we’re asking everyone to get involved in promoting its use.

The Friends of Rosshall are integral to the successful renovation of the park. They’re an incredible group of people who meet regularly, giving up their own time to promote the park and take care of it. They recently had a big tidy up and gathered bags and bags of litter, just local volunteers working together to take care of their community’s amenity. I’m very keen to support them in their endeavours and that’s why these events are so important.

Frank Miller talking about Rosshall Park and Gardens

 Rosshall Park Heritage Project (Dream Garden)

Nestled behind Ross Hall Hospital, Ross Hall Park is a prime example of the landscape gardener’s art. The park was originally the estate of the Cowan family. In the early 1900’s, the family contracted noted landscapers Pulham and Son to create a garden featuring lakes, islands, grottos and rock gardens. Pulham and Son also created gardens in Buckingham Palace, Regents Park Zoo, and closer to home at Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute. Although the rocks and grottos look authentic, they are in fact composed of slabs of concrete with a coating of render to make them look like sandstone. One of the secluded grottos in the park was originally used as a bathing pool by the family. The pool originally went to a depth of nine feet, and there was even a diving platform set up for bathers to use. Ironwork in the walls shows where there used to be a ladder for divers to ascend to the platform. One of the lakes features a boathouse where the family stored their punts at night. The Ross Hall estate later passed into the ownership of the Lobnitz shipbuilding family, who further developed the gardens. The estate was acquired by the Glasgow Corporation in 1948.

B List Status Gardens

The gardens have B listed status and are the subject of a project of renovation by Land and Environmental Services.

The park is under used with only occasional dog-walkers, joggers and cyclists passing through. However there is often evidence of night time misuse of the park by vandals who leave bottles, spray graffiti and damage the rock work.

We hope to increase the use of the park by members of the local community and raise a sense of ownership amongst young people in order to protect it from further damage.

We have a range of activities in store to that end, the most immediate being the staging of a Victorian Garden Party. We will have pavilions where tea and sandwiches can be served, croquet on the lawn, a string quartet, singers, stalls and games.

Next we aim to mount a programme of research into the gardens themselves, who built them, who owned the Big House, what plants and animals are there in the park, what memories people have of their use of the park.

These findings will be recorded and mounted as an exhibition in the two local libraries.

Our long-term aim is to film a feature length movie which will relate the story of a community mounting an open-air production of A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream in the park. The lives of the young central characters will be seen to mirror those of the characters in the play. The film title serves as the title for the project: The Dream Garden. Ongoing work within the community, raising awareness, forging partnerships and increasing the local skills base will form the bulk of our work on this project in the coming year

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